Groups Still Slamming Craigslist

from the you're-not-helping dept

Even with Craigslist censoring itself due to ridiculous public pressure, and even though it’s pretty clear that this action will only make things much worse for victims, the so-called “public interest groups” that pushed this misguided media campaign against Craigslist still don’t think they’ve done enough damage. They sent me press releases three times yesterday patting themselves on the back for Craigslist censoring itself and then demanding that it do even more. This is unfortunate, no matter how you look at it. These groups can’t seem to admit that blaming the tool rather than the actual people involved only makes the problem worse. Their inability to recognize the basic consequences of moving this activity to other forums that don’t cooperate with law enforcement and make it much harder to stop these activities is really quite upsetting. Blaming the tool providers for the actions of users doesn’t stop the actions, at all. It just makes it that much harder to do anything. People patting themselves on the back for getting Craigslist to censor itself are worsening the problem they think they’re solving.

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Companies: craigslist

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Comments on “Groups Still Slamming Craigslist”

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MadCow (profile) says:


This is pretty typical if you think about it. For many years people have been trying to institute gun laws for the exact same reason. They believe if you remove guns you’ll remove crime, specifically murder. Unfortunately this is completely wrong because criminals will STILL find a way to come into possession of a gun and commit a crime.

It doesn’t matter which subject it is, if a politician doesn’t like an action, they go for the tool of said action without it affecting anything. In this case and the gun case, this only hurts law abiding citizens, very similarly to DRM. It’s a vicious circle of political grandstanding.

Danny says:

Re: Typical

Unfortunately this is completely wrong because criminals will STILL find a way to come into possession of a gun and commit a crime.
Or find another weapon. Knives, bombs, bats, etc… can be nearly as fatal as guns.

It doesn’t matter which subject it is, if a politician doesn’t like an action, they go for the tool of said action without it affecting anything.
Its just as someone said above. If you play your cards right its much more profitable to fight a problem that never dies than one that that does die.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

The reason...

…this never sat right with me was simple: my goal isn’t just to stop the trafficers and pimps. If that’s your goal, then going after Craig’s makes no sense, because you can arrest more of them with CL than without it.

On the other hand, if you think it’s abhorrent that anyone on the planet should be making money off of the exploitation of women and/or children, then shutting down the Adult Services section of CL makes more sense (I think). Isn’t it fact that CL is making good money off of that section? And isn’t it also fact that a majority of the ads in that section are for some form of prostitution?

So….how is it right to keep that section up and running?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: The reason...

Hmm, not sure that makes sense. Exploitation of women and/or children is a known bad thing. Is filesharing/copyright infringement? I thought the whole point was that infringement didn’t really do all that much harm to the “victim”, and in many cases might even help them.

Are you making the same argument for the exploitation of women/children?

Having said all that, somebody helpfully pointed out that CL was forced into charging for the AS section by these same asshats and donated some or all of that money to charity, so my original argument now holds no water. It’s just like their being on the streets and getting mad at the city for having streets to begin with….

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The reason...

Allowing for the fact that from this point on we’re just arguing a hypothetical:

I didn’t mean to imply that infringement and exploitation were the same, I was aiming more at the fact that CL and TPB are just tools that can be used *both* within and outside the law on a per user basis. So, blaming CL because some people use their service to break the law is a logic fail.

DH's Love Child (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The reason...

“Quick, name a tool which cannot be used for an illegal purpose!”

Angry Dude….

After cleaning the soda off my LCD, I have to differ with you father. George Carlin described a scenario where AD could be used for an illegal purpose: Grab him by the ankles, swing him around and use him to beat another troll to death.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The reason...

I was aiming more at the fact that CL and TPB are just tools that can be used *both* within and outside the law on a per user basis. So, blaming CL because some people use their service to break the law is a logic fail.

the point is that this stuff just isn’t based on logic at all. the reality is that these websites are simply convenient targets that are easy to identify rather than having tactical significance to an effort to stem bad behavior.

human trafficking and other forms of exploitation are these shadowy things that we don’t understand, but everyone knows what craig’s list is, so lets all rail against that instead of doing something constructive.

Anon says:

Re: The reason...

I think if it can be proven that there is an increased expenditure on the exploitation of women/children because of this service, then your argument may have some legitimacy. However, if it is just a redirection of funds, then the bonus provided to law enforcement because of the service means we have a slightly better situation than without it.

ac says:

Re: The reason...

You make a valid point, but I think one would have to prove a correlation between the adult services section being up, and an increase in demand for said services. I personally don’t believe taking that section of CL down will reduce demand. It’s like chasing hookers off a street corner. They just move to another corner.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The reason...

That is a morality call, not a legal one. It is your opinion and you have your right to your opinion. But, if you don’t like it, don’t use it.

Your argument feels like one ppl use against gay marriage. Just because someone or a group of people don’t like it and they believe it to be wrong doesn’t mean they have the right to bully their opinions onto others.

interval (profile) says:

Re: The reason...

Shutting down Craigslist isn’t going to end all exploitation. Won’t even end a little of it. Censorship is never a good idea. The legal status of prostitution in all 50 states hasn’t changed in 100 years, its still illegal in all but one, and in that state it will still be legal. Telling craigslist to deny advertising that appears to advertise prostitution makes as much sense to me as flogging a dead horse. Some of the letters from readers on other blogs really appeared to me to be a position of “If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist, so denying craigslist its first amendment rights is fine.”

I don’t understand this pov, in fact I think its pretty stupid.

nonanonymous says:

Re: Re: Re: The reason...

Read the comment again. My whole point was that if your goal is to end exploitation, shutting down or censoring CL doesn’t make sense. But, if your goal is to stop people from knowingly profitting from that stuff, then it MIGHT….

And I thought you already admitted the situation is not exactly that. CL was MADE to charge for the service and now it’s somehow their fault for doing so? If they wanted to “stop” profiting, may be they should not require the payment… besides, people that are perpetrating the crimes are still profiting and the core problem has not even been touched. So again, waste of time and money.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The reason...

“Read the comment again. My whole point was that if your goal is to end exploitation, shutting down or censoring CL doesn’t make sense. But, if your goal is to stop people from knowingly profitting from that stuff, then it MIGHT….”

I cannot see how it matters that Craiglist knowingly profit from exploitation unless they are involved or encouraging it. If they were not profiting from exploitation then the money would stay with those actually exploiting and presumably be used for no better purpose. It seems like a faux moral dilemma that diverts from the relevant question, which would appear to be whether the censorship prevents exploitation.

Rigorously applied, the faux dilemma would result in businesses being required to not provide any service that may be knowingly used by a criminal. Selling knives? Not if you haven’t vetted everyone to make sure that they have a legitimate use for one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Prostitution is societies problem, the internet is a reflection of society. The only thing you see in reflections is yourself. For every bible thumper out there organizing their weekend retreat over a public forum, there is an S&M orgy group organizing on a private one. Its been the same for thousands of year except people met in churches, or in basements, the internet just made it more visible.

There are really only two options, either we come to accept the darker part of human nature and learn to mitigate its harmful effects, or we give up the internet and go back to pretending our dark sides don’t exist.

Allow the adult section to continue, prosecute the OFFENDERS individually if they break the law.

SLK8ne says:

What you get....

What you get when you give in to ignorant bullies.

I say ignorant because it is impossible make this world safe. There is always a way around, always a back door, always a way to circumvent these draconian measures. A good analogy is school uniforms. Supposedly this was instituted to keep rival gang members from easily identifying each other. Silly. They find a way around it. It solves nothing.

Same with this nonsense. They’ll simply shift operations somewhere else. Probably there’s some company in Bangkok that would be only too happy to host these ads. (It’s infamous for it’s prostitution) The Internet is GLOBAL. There’s a dozen 3rd world countries where this junk can be hosted legally and these groups have no influence at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don't impose morality on others

As a man who has paid for sex, and I might add, as far as I know without breaking the law where I did so, can I just interject the concept that prostitution !=== exploitation, certainly while there may be overlap it is not an equivalence condition.

When I see these discussions, even though I know (and am thankful!) that prostitution could not ever be outlawed in practice, I always wonder two things:

(1) If it were possible to eliminate prostitution, and all paid sexual encounters conducted on a willing seller/willing buyer basis between adults, then how many additional male suicides per year would result? Hint: the answer is greater than zero.

Not all accept that paid sex could ever be willing on both sides, of course, and that the payment itself constitutes coercion. I understand that logic, though I disagree with it, because it leads inexorably to the conclusion that some portion of all employment is in fact slavery, and certain sections of society are only too willing to jump on the morality of forcing people to work in some capacity, even if unwilling, instead of offering support, when it comes to welfare and workfare state benefits…

(2) If it were possible to eliminate prostitution, how many innocent women would receive some additional level of male harassment they do not wish or invite, which presently is relieved, in the enforced absence of any legal alternative?

Hint: Not all of us have been able to find sexual partners in legally-approved manners, and being able to pay for company reduces that; it ties into (1) above, some of us would commit suicide rather than go crazy; but I suspect not all.

None of this is easy to say, and the morals and mores of our society mean that it isn’t possible to stand up and say it, except anonymously, without incurring all kinds of other personal grief.

What I can say, however, is that the prostitutes I’ve encountered have all been kind to me, and that I would not have visited if I did not believe they were professional, clean, and had chosen to earn their living that way. I do not see why anyone else should interfere in that transaction, and the rise of the internet has made this very much safer and simpler for all concerned.

(posted AC for obvious reasons)

(posted AC for obvious reasons)

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Don't impose morality on others

Thank you for weighing in with a different perspective. That said, I’m a little bit sad for you. I hope you find someone willing to be with you with out having to pay for the company.

I do agree that prostition shouldn’t be illegal and doesn’t equate to exploitation in many cases.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Don't impose morality on others

“That said, I’m a little bit sad for you.”

I had the same initial thought, but then I stopped myself. Because he’s mostly right: prostitution does not equate globally to exploitation and there are many varied reasons people partake in it.

For instance, I just returned from Vegas. Now, I was there with my girl, but even so, I was struck by how much of the fun of Vegas revolves around the fact that I was doing things I both don’t normally do and personally think that I shouldn’t be doing. For me, this was gambling, but there is obviously a ton of sex peddled in Vegas. I can see lot’s of people partaking simply for the thrill of doing it, rather than for any “sad” reasons.

Oh, and AC, don’t kill yourself. You seem reasonable and fairly intelligent….

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Don't impose morality on others

I’m sad for him because it seems that the only way he can get a woman to be with him is to pay for her. While I myself am morally opposed to the concept of prostitution, I don’t judge those who engage in the transaction. I have friends who consider that a part of their “Vegas Experiance” and that’s fine for them, but they also have no problem getting ass the free way.

I have an aquantance who goes to Vegas two or three times a year to gamble, and considering he has no sig. other, I’m pretty sure he partakes of that particular service as well. I feel a bit sad for him too. Not because I think it’s wrong; just becuase that’s what he has to resort to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Don't impose morality on others

“Oh, and AC, don’t kill yourself”

It’s not currently on my to-do list.

And thanks all for the responses, I wasn’t asking for sympathy rather I hoped to point out there is a perspective here that “dare not speak its name” because those who have similar experiences usually also have disincentives to speak out.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Don't impose morality on others

“None of this is easy to say, and the morals and mores of our society mean that it isn’t possible to stand up and say it, except anonymously, without incurring all kinds of other personal grief.”

I can’t say that I’m much less anonymous than you but I’ll put my pseudonym behind your point. I concur with your entire post (and I’m a fit young guy who abstains because he doesn’t mind waiting for ‘the right person’, so I’m unlikely to ever want to pay for sex).

BruceLD says:


Okay. These “groups” are starting to sound awfully suspicious.

It sounds like someone wants Craigslist to go under. I’d bet you anything if you followed the money trail from these “groups” it would lead right to a corporation or corporations that are either in competition or are interested in acquiring the web site for themselves.

As with any other covert operation that is being orchestrated by large corporations, the money trail is no doubt discrete and nearly impossible to track.

If I were Craigslist I’d be highly suspicious. Something does not sound or feel right at all.

James says:

Its very obvious what this is about... VOTES

Some might argue that Richard Blumenthal and other Attorney Generals are on the morality/crusade train and using Craigslist to help buy votes. These people are not champions for women’s right (more likely conservative idea-logs). They attempt to gain from public responsed no matter how Craigslist responds; they will never be happy.

If Craigslist removes their adult section, they are vindicated. If Craigslist doesn’t remove that section they can preach about how morality must be voted into office so these “out of control prostitution supporters” can be shown the right path… clearly they know better.

Sadly, Craigslist gets caught in the middle; they’ve done nothing wrong here. They clearly should re-institute their adult section and if paid sex ads appear, and it is illegal in your nick of the woods, then Blumenthal (and whoever else) should encourage the police departments in that area to do their job and leave this fine company alone.

Anonymous Coward says:

and there in lies the problem, these “groups” get on the bandwagon of “helping these poor exploited people” they really don’t give two shits about doing anything, as long as they can point blame at someone and look like they are “doing” something for the greater good, they feel morally superior and at the same time, look down on anyone who “obviously” wants to continue to exploit these people, if they don’t toe the party line they spew

darryl says:

Its the law, live with it, break it or move.

If prostitution is illegal in your state, then profiting off that illegal activity is also illegal.

The people placing adds on CL pay for those adds, therefore CL profits from illegal activity. That is one thing, but to KNOWINGLY profit from an illegal activity is another.

Therefore once it was pointed out that they were profiting off an illegal activity they **HAD** to stop it, or they would be guilty of the much worse crime of intensional profiting off crime.

Get it ?

To say that this illegal activity will just go elsewhere is known, but it means CL is ONE LESS place they can go, making it HARDER and NOT EASIER to commit their illegal activity.

Its a totally different issue with the ‘morality’ of the illegal activity, and that does not play a part in this debate, what does is the LAW, you are not allowed to break the law, and you are not allowed to assist others to break the law, knowingly…

Its really very fundamental, and I must say simple.

Tek'a R (profile) says:

Re: Its the law, live with it, break it or move.

oh darryl..

Thanks for repeating a falsehood and proving that you never had any interest in a meaningful discussion.

simply put, because i want to make sure you catch on, Craigslist never made any money off any posting in the adult section. After a bushel of legal threats from varied statesmen who wanted to get publicity, CL caved and started to charge a small fee for making posts.. i am not sure what exactly this was meant to do. Something about having credit card receipts. Some of this money was used to pay ever-increasing staff to hand-screen every adult ad while more was donated through the Craigslist Foundation and related concerns.

Once this was established, many of the same mindless statesmen came back around to show how Outraged they are that CL is Profiting From These Immoral Bad People! and began the leaning process again.

written even more simply..
I Demand You Take Money For That Or Else!
How Dare You Take Money For That!

To say that this illegal activity will just go elsewhere is known, but it means CL is ONE LESS place THE POLICE can go, making it HARDER and NOT EASIER to PREVENT their illegal activity.

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